Did Kenyan Government Blow Up The Mall To End Terrorist Siege?
The Kenyan defence forces finally brought the terrorists' siege of an up scale shopping mall in the capital Nairobi to an end on Tuesday morning with an official death count of 69 victims and 5 terrorists. 71 people are still unaccounted for in that terrorist attack. On midday monday,loud explosions were heard within the ill fated mall and the govt PR dept said the terrorists had set alight a stall that stored mattresses for sale. The public was sceptical about this explanation as witnesses around the site claimed the explosions sounded more like detonations and the accompanying plume of smoke was very huge to have come from mere burning of mattresses. There is now growing speculation that the Govt may have ordered the blowing up of the building to save the hostages from alleged humiliation of rape and be headings that the terrorists were carrying out to force the Govt into negotiations and accede to their unpublicised demands. There are allegations of beheaded heads being thrown out of the windows at intervals though journalists and general public were kept off the vicinity of the buildings. Most of this information is filtering in mainly from the rescue volunteers who were sworn to secrecy in order to avoid panic and despondency among the general public and civilians. The govt forces launched a very successful strategy of updating the public through regular press briefings and updates in social media especially twitter but on the final stages of the siege,the public was becoming more sceptical on the accuracy of the information given by Govt departments. All along on Monday,there were allegations from public witnesses that the mall had finally collapsed,but the Govt PR department denied this reports until the President in his final press briefing said that three floors of the building had collapsed trapping some of the hostages and the terrorists within the building. While the Kenyan Govt is highly recommended for bringing the siege to an end and overpowering the terrorists,there seems to be a lot of information that was kept away from the public domain about how the armed forces handled the siege away from prying public eyes after the mall was finally cordoned off from public and journalists. The Kenyan media also cooperated with the Govt on censoring of sensitive information and photos that would have created despondency to the public and promoted the evil cause of the terrorists. Kenya seems to have learnt a lot from the Post Election Violence of 2007 chaos that almost plunged the country into civil war. The media was blamed for broadcasting uncensored information and photos that only helped to fan more violence. This has led to a journalist with a local media house being indicted at the International Criminal Court for fanning violence through the a vernacular radio station. The covering of this year's general election in March also showed a lot of self censorship of media which filtered away sensitive utterances by politicians that were deemed to incite public into violence. This self censorship of the local media is beneficial in the short term as the country heals from wounds of last genocide,but may compromise the accountability of Govt agencies when dealing with National tragedies such as the just ended terrorist attack.